THE CHILUC CAT ("EARTH CAT")

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - USAGES - MYTH/LORE

The Chiluc is a small feline that lives on the Tundra of Cyhalloi. In Styrásh, the Chiluc is called "Mód’feníl", which means "Earth Cat" or "Cat of the Earth", due to it habit to dig into the earth in search of prey. It is a small cat, that is rarely seen, because it is shy and stays away from people. The Chiluc feeds mainly on small rodents, and is valued by the Kasumarii and the Cyhallrhim for its thick white fur.

Appearance. The Chiluc is usually about half a ped long, but its long tail, which measures up to half a ped as well, makes it seem longer. Standing up on its four legs, the Chiluc's height is about a fore and a handspan. It has a thick white fur, which enables the cat to survive the climate of the Tundra of Cyhalloi.

Chilucs have sleek bodies, and seem built for speed, but, unlike most felines, they are not exceptionally fast. This is the result of the very interesting claws on the Chiluc's front paws. The claws are longer and wider than those of other felines, being very strong, with heavier bones than would be expected. These, combined with strong muscles, enable the Chiluc to dig through the frozen soil of the
Tundra, though they hinder them in running. All four paws are also padded with fur, as an adaptation to the snow.

The Chiluc's eyes are narrow slits, possibly to protect them from the harsh winds, and often green in colour, though other varieties, such as yellow, have been observed as well. The long hairs around the eyes catch the snow and protects the eyes therefore.

The Chiluc's ears are relatively small, and covered in fur on both the inside and the outside. The cat's nose is also small, a black triangle in a mass of white fur.
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Special Abilities. Chilucs are very well adapted to live in the cold. Their fur is thick and relatively long. The white colour makes them hard to see in the snow. Still, the Chiluc is not able to survive above ground, exposed to the elements. It finds shelter below the surface, usually in the enlarged burrows of the rodents and other small mammals that they hunt. They curl up in these small burrows and keep themselves warm using their own body heat. Return to the top

Territory. The Chiluc can only be only found on the icy cold
Tundra of Cyhalloi. It hunts the open plains, where it hides and shelters underground during the night, and comes out during the day. It is also found in the few parts of the Tundra that are more forested, but it seems to prefer the open Tundra. Return to the top

Habitat/Behaviour. Chilucs are solitary, and highly territorial. These qualities are probably the result of the limited amount of food in their habitat. Any Chiluc will attack another when it happens to wander in its territory. They will not kill the intruder, but make sure domination is established, and the loser will be chased out of the territory. Females with kittens are the most fierce, and they will sometimes even kill another Chiluc, if an opponent comes too close to her den.
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Diet. Like most felines, the Chiluc is a meat eater. It feeds mainly on the rodents, like leverets, and other small mammals that live on the
Tundra. The Chiluc will hunt at night, using its excellent sense of smell to track down the burrows of its prey. It will then use its strong claws to widen the tunnel so it will fit in, and dig its way down quickly to catch its prey, which it then kills and eats underground. The burrow is then often used as a temporary den, until it is time for another hunt.

Though they do not seem to seek them out, Chilucs sometimes hunt the walking birds of the
Tundra as well, but these are not their favourite prey. In the breeding season, they will not hesitate to raid nests and eat the eggs or chicks.

The Chiluc will occasionally hunt the
Tundra sheep, but even an adult male is not really big, strong, or fast enough to take on a healthy adult sheep. If a Chiluc does kill a sheep, it will be a young one, or one that is old or diseased. Also, though the Chiluc is not a true scavenger, it will take the opportunity if it happens to come upon a carcass.

The Chiluc is rarely seen by men, since it is shy, and only comes out at night. Because of its size and preferred prey, it is no threat to men. There have been a few recorded instances though, in very harsh winters, when the Chilucs found their way into the carry homes of the Kasumarii in search of food. 
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Mating. The only time when a Chiluc interacts with another adult animal of the same species is when mating. This takes place in early spring. Females generally stay in their territory, while the males wander out in search for females. When a female encounters a male in her territory, she will either chase him away, or challenge him to a fight. What follows appears to be some sort of ritual fight, since neither animal will injure the other. This ritual might go on for hours, but in the end, the female will either chase away the male or, if she is satisfied with what the male showed he could do, she will allow him to become her mate.

Soon after, the female chases away the male anyway, and starts to prepare for a den. Like normal dens, this is usually the adapted burrow of a prey, though it will be enlarged even further, and lined with bits of fur and grass to make it more comfortable. After only a few weeks the kittens will be born, their number usually between two and five. At this stage, they will be blind, naked and naked, and without claws, but all of these will grow rapidly within the next few months. The birth fluids act as a natural glue, and the mother covers them all over in bits of her own fur. This "fur coat" keeps them warm until their own fur starts growing. The hair growing under the coating of fur will make the young Chilucs' skin itch, so the kittens will start to scratch, and the layer will eventually come off.

The mother will nurse the kittens at first, but within a few weeks she will also start to supplement the kittens’ diet by small bits of meat. When the kittens have grown sufficiently, after about a month and a half, the mother will take them out hunting, teaching them how to track down and kill their prey. After a while, the young Chilucs will start to wander off and try and hunt for themselves, though at first they will return to their mother after their kill. When their own hunting starts to become more successful, they will stay away for longer periods of time, until, eventually, they don’t return at all. The kittens are usually about three months old when they leave.
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Usages. Chilucs are trapped by both Kasumarii and
Cyhallrhim. The Kasumarii will, of course, eat the Chiluc's meat, but it is the fur that is really valued. Because of its small size, the Chilucs fur cannot be used for very large pieces of clothing, but it is very suitable for making gloves or warm headwear. Because the fur is so soft, it is also often used for baby clothing or blankets. Noblewomen of the Cyhallrhim like the fur to make decorations to sew onto their skirts and other garments. Return to the top

Myth/Lore. There are rumors among the Kasumarii about a black Chiluc. A person to come across one is said to have bad fortune waiting for him. These days, however, most Kasumarii believe this to be no more than an old wives' tale, and no sight of black Chiluc has ever been recorded anyway. 
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